Japan Deaths Exceed 7,000 from Natural Disasters

Mar 21, 2011, 07:21 by David Hope

The Japanese people stood in silent memorial one week after the earthquake Friday as the official death toll neared 7,000. Over the weekend - the number ticked past that mark as search and rescue efforts continued.

The moment of silence was observed at 2:46 p.m. Friday, exactly a week after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo News reported.

The death toll has reached 6,911, topping the 6,434 dead in the 1995 earthquake, and the total number of dead and unaccounted for is 17,227, the National Police Agency said. Some 370,000 evacuees are staying at 2,100 shelters.

Some roads have been reopened, but delivery of relief goods is hampered by shortages of fuel and vehicles. Lack of fuel has forced the Miyagi prefecture government to allow burial without cremation.

Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai urged survivors Friday to move away.

''Living conditions will be improved if they move to other prefectures,'' he said. ''It is a non-binding request. I hope people affected by the quake will cooperate.''

The relocation is to last six months to a year until temporary housing is built.

Source: UPI